Mountain Mishap?

October 17, 2011
It’s a dark and cold night on Okemo Mountain, almost -10 degrees on the highest peak of the ski lift. It’s the first time I’ve skied, aside from the bunny hill we made in my friend’s back yard back in 3rd grade. But that didn’t matter because I’m stuck here alone on a ski lift. My friends were a few chairs ahead of me so they managed to get off, while I’m stuck here all alone freezing cold wondering when someone will find me. My phone just died so I’m not sure what time it is, and anyway my fingers are probably too frozen to press the buttons even if it worked. But, the last time I looked at a watch or the last time the clock chimed it was probably around 2am or that’s what it seemed like.
Because I’m so freezing I think I’ve started to hallucinate. Hallucinate about home or about the warm hotel for that matter and for all my friends who are probably there partying it up because we’re all leaving Vermont tomorrow, so it really doesn’t matter how hungover we really are. I imagine myself with my red solo cup handed to me by Josh Nichols, my new crush for this year. I imagine us talking, and I imagine us going into our own world talking about our future together. Kind of ironic, considering I’ve never actually talked to him in person. I’ve just admired him from afar and who knows, maybe he admired me from afar too. But it’s too early to tell and none of this fantasy is actually happening, is it, because I’m all alone here. If I do something drastic and try to jump out of this ski lift chair I’d probably fall on my face. Even if I land safely, there is that huge pile of snow that would supposedly “break the fall” but I’d really just freeze to death…like literally freeze to death to get out of my misery. I’m that icicle hanging off of your house just waiting to break off.
As I’m pondering my options, I hear a weird noise which sounds like an animal of some sort. Then I remember what the ski instructor told our group about bears in these parts and I’m really starting to get nervous. I’m deathly afraid of all animals. They all just scare me. They’re too unpredictable. Like when I’m around it seems like dogs and cats, it seems like they stare me down until I pet them and then if I don’t keep going they’ll bite my face off. That might not seem too realistic to you but yes it’s happened to me, a few times actually. But let’s not get into that now, or I might start to shake in my seat.
So by now I’m lying down on the ski lift. Slowly but surely, I’ve managed to lift my skis and put them over the pole that makes sure you don’t fly out of the seat when it stops suddenly, so I can lay vertically and at least watch the stars and try to calm down. And of course to my dismay there are no stars to look at, because it’s so goddamn cold and cloudy up here. I feel like Rose from the Titanic when she’s laying down on that door Jack gave her to take her out of the freezing water and she’s just staring into the sky singing an unknown tune because she’s gotten so cold she doesn’t even remember where she is or what she’s doing.
And that so called “unknown” tune in my case is that song from the Parent Trap when the sisters are singing at the end and… you know what I mean. The one that’s like “Let’s get together, yeah, yeah, yeah.” But the problem is that, that’s all I know of the song so I sound like a broken record up here, a broken record that no one thinks about, and a record no one could care less about. But then on the subject of the Parent Trap I think of Natasha Richardson and how she died in a skiing accident and I realize I better move onto something else before I scare myself even more than I already have.
I’m exhausted, and I try to get some shuteye but I do not succeed. I think maybe if I change my position it’ll be easier to fall asleep but then I realize that I’m stuck on a ski lift and if I move too much I have the potential of falling to my death. As I begin to hallucinate again, I hear that noise again, kind of a shriek or a squeal like the sound of a mouse stuck in a mouse trap. But where is it coming from? If it’s a bear, it could easily kill me and then I’ll be out of this misery. If it’s a person maybe they could help me. Is that all it could be? It could be the rustle of the trees. I have to admit that my earmuffs are muffling my hearing and hey, it could be nothing at all. Is it another figment of my imagination? I debate if I should take off the earmuffs and freeze some more, or if I should just suck it up and move on with my life.
But how can I move on with my life if I’m going to spend it here for the rest of the night and die in my sleep? That’s honestly how cold I am, I’d rather die. Some people could say that I’m overreacting but you don’t know what it feels like until you are as cold as I am right now. The cold wind is going through me like a bullet. So I try to look back and recap what I did today, to try to think of pleasant thoughts, take my mind off my predicament. I woke up late, didn’t make breakfast, and forgot my money so I beseeched my friend for money to afford a waffle for lunch. My day got a little bit better. I skied down a mountain successfully without falling too many times. And I got to go on a gondola with Josh, well, and 20 other people, too. But the thought of he and I being in the same place at the same time was comforting. Now I feel a little better.
My skiing has improved majorly throughout the day, if that’s even possible considering I strapped on skis 2 days ago for the first time. I was feeling confident, so instead of going with my friend’s mom who’s a chaperone for this trip- she’s actually more of the beginner skier I am- I went along with my expert friends who were going on this really long intermediate trail that’s labeled with a blue square. It started the top of the mountain, and it goes all the way down to the bottom where the bus would be meeting us, for one last run before we’d go back to the hotel for a last night in snowy Vermont. And that’s how I got to where I am now. Waiting and waiting for someone to come find me, with no luck. How’s that for a fun filled day on the slopes?
As I’m thinking about this, something starts to happen. I hear the noise again, this time it’s a sort of low rumbling you hear like when a car starts after numerous tries of the ignition not kicking in. And the noise continues, and continues and I’m getting really freaked out. So I sit up and start looking around and I don’t see anything because my goggles are fogged up. So I take off my goggles, and as I do the chair starts moving on the ski lift. Has it really been 6 hours since I last heard a clock chime?
Once my goggles are off and I wipe the snow off of my gingham hat my grandma knit me for last Christmas, and I see my skis are in place, I notice that there are people everywhere, skiing up and down the hills and yelling and screaming, and falling and smashing into each other. Isn’t it a little early for all of these people to be skiing? It’s barely 8am…
“Em, Em over here!”
“Maddie, what’re you doing here so early?” I answer.
“I’ve been trying to get your attention but you were just staring into space this whole time. What’s gotten into you, and what do you mean so early?”
“It’s barely 8am; shouldn’t you be on the bus ride home by now?”
“Emily, are you feeling okay?”
“No, I’m freezing! Where is everyone?”
“Well you’re probably freezing because a huge pile of snow is in your jacket, I can see it from here…everyone started going down the hill with their partners, but I waited for you…”
“What’re you talking about?! Everyone’s been gone for hours, I almost just froze to death and no one came to save me!”
“Save you from what Em, its 4 o’clock in the afternoon…?”
“Oh my god! That’s how long it’s been?!”
Then an announcement interrupts Maddie before she can question me anymore. Her expression says it all: “Attention Okemo skiers and snowboarders, sorry for the delay the ski lift froze up because we’re so high in altitude. Sorry for the inconvenience and, have an Okemo day.”
“Madison, how long have you been waiting here for me?”
“I don’t know. I guess about 15 minutes…”

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback